I sit in the tree, my claws gripping the soft bark of the branch. My tufted ears twitch, monitoring the sounds in the woods. The tip of my short, feline tail twitches.
I hear a car driving along the road in the bottom of the valley.
I have memories of the time before there were cars, before tarmac roads and all the human sprawl. I have memories of when this valley was thick forest filled with aurochs and wolves and many of my kind. Now, I am the only one in this whole country, this whole island, even though it would take me many days to run from one seacoast to the opposite.
Lynx are solitary big cats, they said. They like having plenty of room. Just one for now.
They don’t know that I can understand them. I cannot speak their language but I understand it just fine.
They released me last night. Now, I sit in the tree and watch the sunrise over the valley.
They don’t know that I carry the memories of my ancestors. I know what these humans have done. Now, they are trying to reverse their damage. I was born as part of this experiment. They want to turn back the clock, erase their scars. They think that I will help them.
They think that one lynx in this thick un-wild will absolve them.
I stand up, stretch. The first rays of the sun touch warmth to my thick, soft fur. At least they are trying, at least they are aware now. My ancestors urge me to help them, to bring my ancient memories back to life.
I’d like to make it perfectly clear that this is a work of fiction. There’s no evidence that animals can understand humans to the extend described here. There is evidence for intergenerational inheritance of some traits in some animals but not full memory sets.
I wanted to consider the perspective of newly reintroduced species after hundreds of years of absence.
Lynx have not been found in the UK for 1300 years but reintroduction is being considered as they are a keystone species, helping to create a natural, balanced ecosystem. Through concerted efforts, lynx in Europe have been increasing in number over the past few decades.
Links to further information
https://lynxuk.org/ Lynx UK Trust
https://rewildingeurope.com/rewilding-in-action/wildlife-comeback/lynx/ Info form Rewilding Europe on the European and Iberian lynx
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05445-5 A scientific article on the evidence for and against transgenerational inheritance (being able to have memories from your ancestors)